Friday, May 16, 2008 at Friday, May 16, 2008 |
I'm starting to play chess again. I don't know what's getting on my head. But I feel like I need to exercise my brain more often. And chess would be the best way to do so since I'm already familiar with its rules. Although I know the rules, I didn't play the game as a sport or a hobby before. If my guess is right, I've just played more or less 50 chess games in 15 years since I first learned it when I was 13. It was my father who taught me the basics. I only played against high school friends who, like me, were very amateurs and didn't even know the rules of the game in a real tournament. No time control, no Reti or Sicilian opening, not even some special tactics. Nothing at all. Just plain capturing and checkmating. I beat almost all of them, and almost all of them beat me in return, much to my chagrin.

When I realized that I was neither gifted nor talented in the game to even become a decent amateur player, I simply gave it up and played no more of it. But now it's all coming back to me. Not the idea of becoming a master, but of beating the damn chess program in my computer and lording it over my friends. I simply figured that if there are many masters out there, there are even more low-level players like me around.

I started playing the game again last Wednesday. The first three games were very frustrating, I nearly cursed the chess software. I lost them all in no more than 30 moves. After the third game, I immediately looked into some of Grandmaster Wesley So's games in the Internet archives (particularly those of him being up against GM Susanto Megaranto and GM Ahmed Adly) and check their openings and tactics, and guess what? I improved! Well, at least that's what I thought of myself. I 'almost' managed to salvage a draw with my fourth and fifth games against the computer, but being a computer capable of knowing thousand to million possibilities of a winning game, I eventually lost the end games, another proof that some time in the future computers will outwit us. Remember when a computer chess program of IBM defeated then world champion Garry Kasparov in 1997?

It might be a little too late to study chess to improve my playing, but that's exactly what I'm planning to do. I don't know, but it kinda challenged me. As of now, I have learned the algebraic chess notation. Next in line will be the openings. Sounds ambitious. They said that during the Renaissance, chess was a part of noble culture and it was used to teach war strategy. Well then, it's applicable to life challenges, as it is about evaluating possibilities. It's nice being two to three steps advanced. It's like you have some power to read what your opponent thinks.
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